Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Common sense has left the building ...

But, don't worry, I have every faith (if I did, it would be through sheer naivete, or some worse affliction) that we can carry on, without it ...

'Twas on a Wednesday morning (with another nod to the famous musical tale of woe and a succession of workmen, as told by Flanders and Swann), the plumber came to call and I need to get the day's events cataloged before I forget.

Yesterday, I'd done some head scratching and testing of my own. With the toilet turned off at the stopcock, in order to flush it after use, required turning the stopcock on again. With me so far?

This I would do, do what I needed, flush the toilet and then I waited for it to refill again ... the aim being to have it full, ready for the next visit.

Only, when I went back, for some strange reason, the cistern was empty.

No water on the floor. No visible leak. No sound of water escaping.

So, I tried it again. Same thing. Mysteriously disappearing water.

Third time lucky? An Aha! moment. This time, I waited and watched.

Have you ever stood, staring down a toilet pan before, sober?

It would seem that the water had been escaping from the bottom of the cistern, into the bowl at a barely perceptible rate. Too slow to notice, because there was no sound and even standing there deliberately staring at it, all that was evident was that the surface of the water merely shimmered - it was hardly movement - which I can best describe as being something like that which might be caused by blowing very softly on the water surface, from some distance.

OK, I can accept a theory that, with such an imperceptibly slow outflow and, previously, no hiss on the inflow, until the night of Thursday, April 3rd, when (I still maintain) the pressure went up sufficiently to cause the noise and finish off the old thing, the leak had gone undetected. If it was leaking before.

Something was, clearly, because the water went somewhere.

We probably have to assume it was that, because it fits and it will be hard to prove either way.

Anyway, I was able to explain the findings of my tests to the plumber and his mate, when they turned up this morning, first thing, as promised. They said they understood me perfectly and with a quick twiddle of the plastic thingy that fits into the bottom of the cistern, it was fixed.

They flushed the loo. We waited. We watched.

We all went down to the water meter to triple-check that it was not moving.

The stopcock is now in the on position and I keep going into the bathroom to check that I can hear no hiss. I've also stumbled down the barranco hourly to keep my eye on it. The plumbers too pointed out that it would help greatly to be able to detect and fix things like this, if the town hall had not delayed 4 months in sending out bills.

So, with luck that's 2 down (counting capping off the bidet as #1). Only:
3. The trickling water heater
4. The gushing washing machine
5. The dripping kitchen tap ... still to fix.
(And my sanity, but that will just have to wait.)

The plumber explained to me how the insurance company works. It's not a system that follows common sense as you and I know it. They fix things one by one. This, I can grasp, when each job requires a different specialization.

It stops making sense, however, when the same plumber that fixes the toilet on one journey, has to come all the way back again on a different day, different job ticket, to, say, fix the kitchen tap, but that seems to be the way it works.

On that issue, at this moment, mine is not to reason why. Just be grateful that things are moving along, if slowly and don't think about it.

Otherwise, it would do my friggin head in.

So, after the plumber left, I rang the insurance again to say "thank you for sending the plumber, who fixed the toilet and tells me that you'll fix these things one by one, is that right and what do I have covered?"

And now it's becoming clear: I do have the emergency assistance, as well as cover for damages (the bit that can be likened to contents insurance).

And they fix things one by one!

Well, they cover the call out and the first three hours of labour on each visit. Parts are down to me. Well, some might be the landlord, but try telling 'em!

Anyway, we have now synchronized lists and the girl says that I will be hearing from whomever is to come to look at items 3, 4 and 5, by phone first.

The bad news is that it "may not be" today.

No, really, I can live with that.

It's a bloody good job that I don't have to go out to work though, isn't it?

While explaining (once again) the sequence of events, I explained that it is my opinion that all of these breakages were provoked by one single cause on that specific date; the increase in water pressure. I also told her that the town hall refute that and recounted something of the argument we'd had yesterday.

Finally, I felt like some of my sanity was being restored, because she agreed with me, that whatever the cause, all of these things do not break all at the same time, just by pure coincidence, or because they were old, or badly maintained. There had to have been some particular "event" or common cause.

She also mentioned the need for a regulator, saying that is supposed to be there to prevent these damages, from pressure changes, from happening. That is something, which everyone agrees, the landlord has to do.

But this girl also understood the irony and my frustration, when I explained that Jobsworth water man was telling me that the regulator needs to be installed to protect against ups and downs of pressure, in the next breath after he'd insisted that the water pressure never changes and doesn't have ups and downs.

She also said that the water bills simply ain't my problem: they're not in my name and therefore, the landlords can try to reclaim those from the council, or through their insurance, if they have any. In practice, if I don't pay them, there's no knowing what she might do, from evicting me, to threatening me.

Sheila (next door in La Palma) says that the Spanish have a very eloquent expression; "The house is falling on top of me" to describe the feeling of being horribly overloaded. When this much of the house is breaking all at once, not only is dealing with it horribly close to the metaphor, but there have been times in the last few weeks when I've also thought that this was literally true.

No comments: